Plotting a Family History Tour

We are quickly approaching our 2016 Family History tour in New England. For more than a year we have had this marked on the calendar to visit sites of Westover Heritage in New England.

One of the more enduring mysteries we are hoping to make progress on will be the lives of Amos and Ruth Westover, and their son, Alexander.

Amos Westover was caught between generations. His father, John Westover, was a mainstay in Sheffield, Massachusetts. Amos was one of several brothers, among the youngest, in fact. A few of his older brothers were loyalists. After the Revolution life got pretty rough for those loyal to the crown and a few of the Westover brothers took off for Canada, where the King was handing out land grants.

We know that by 1790 Amos had married Ruth, had several children, and then took off for Canada with his brothers to claim land as well. It paid off more than a decade later — in 1802 — when he was give 200 acres of land. The records show that Amos was torn for some reason about his Canadian homestead. He returned to Sheffield for a time but then went right back to Canada. Sometime after 1812 he left altogether and pioneered his way to Ohio.

In those years Amos and family spent some time in the Lake Champlain area of Vermont — perhaps close or in association with the Beal family. During these years — from approximately 1795 to 1805 — Amos and Ruth had a few more children, inclusive of son Alexander and daughter Olive. Where these children were born is in dispute. There is some evidence that maybe Olive was born in Canada. But a child or two may have been more in Vermont.

Around 1815 the Westovers and the Beals staked claims on the Ohio frontier — in a place called Rush Township. They had to know each other well because within ten years there Alexander Westover would marry Electa Beal — and his sister Olive Westover would marry Daniel Beal. Olive and Daniel stayed in Ohio, eventually burying his parents and taking over the family farm. Alexander and Electa would suffer from the breakup of their family due to Alexander’s untimely death in 1834.

So our tour this fall will include stops in Ohio — little Rush Township and area — where we hope to find graves and land records. Then we will press on to Sheffield — where we will explore John Westover’s home and the close environs of Simsbury, Connecticut and Windsor, Massachusetts in pursuit of Westovers and Griswolds and Cases and Mortons — then we’ll go up into Burlington, Vermont and even across the border into Sutton, Quebec, where the Westover name in Canada took root not from Amos but from his loyalist brothers.

Along the way on this winding trail we will divert to explore some not-so-ancient history of my mother’s side and find a few graves from my wife’s family. Of course, where we can visit family on the road we will take every opportunity to do so.

To see our rough path for this fall’s travel please click on the animated map below….

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